Day 28 – Boat Tetris

Emma Mitchell By

Day 28 – Boat Tetris

There have been many occasions in recent years where I have attempted to fit all of my worldly possessions into my very small car and move to a new house either for work or studying. I thought I had become pretty good at packing a lot of stuff into a small space. However packing up Doris with everything we will need for the row was a whole other challenge. As well as physically being able to fit it all in there are a few other considerations when packing an ocean rowing boat:

1) Some of the hatches where everything lives are very easy to access e.g. the large deck hatches where most of our food is stored. Other hatches such as those right in the nose of the boat under the cabin mattresses are very difficult to access. Therefore when packing we had to figure out the things we were least likely to need and try to fit them in the most awkward places.

2) Doris is a boat and therefore if the weight is packed unevenly she will list at an angle making it both difficult and uncomfortable to row. This means that we had to try to match the weight in opposite hatches. We carry 150 litres of ballast water which lives in the middle bottom hatches which helps to stabilise the boat, aides her ability to self right if we capsize and also acts as an emergency water supply for us should our water maker and it’s backups all fail. Our water maker lives on the port side of the boat and is pretty heavy so our anchor, para anchor and lines live on the starboard side to balance this out. Equally our food lives half on each side of the boat.

3) Certain bits of equipment we use get wet e.g. the para anchor (a parachute which is deployed from the boat to slow us down and hold us in a better position relative to the waves when necessary) and its lines. Therefore we need to have a designated wet locker for this. We also have a wet locker in the aft cabin for our wet weather gear on the rare occasion we aren’t wearing it.

4) Anything which is not in a hatch or secured in some way will either fly around the cabin or be lost from the deck in big waves. This means that consideration must be given to where things live and it is important to replace them once you have finished using them. This is especially important for heavy objects such as pelicases which will hurt if they fly into you!

5) We eat food from the hatches and create rubbish as a result. The empty food packets, dead snack packs, wet wipes etc need to be placed outside in a hatch once the bin bag in the cabin is full and the food needs to be moved around to maintain the weight distribution. This means that approximately once a week we need to do some hatch admin. Not the most fun job when up to your elbows in a deck hatch trying to get the remaining food from under the rubbish snack packs. Sadly in the last week we have seen more rubbish than wildlife in the ocean though and we don’t want to be responsible for making this problem any worse. The last 2 days we have also done a full food audit on board. Since we are making slower progress than we would have hoped we wanted to make sure that we aren’t going to run out of food before we reach Hawaii. We are starting to ration ourselves just to make sure this doesn’t happen. As well as only eating one main meal per day this mainly means we are having to eat the meals that have so far been unpopular, such as the freeze dried beef curry which is nobodies favourite (some following the taste test and some not). Yum!

In other news Izzy made a discovery yesterday which has revolutionised my wet weather gear enjoyment. Previously I have had to wear a buff to prevent the Velcro on the neck of my wet weather jacket from chaffing my chin but it turns out there is a little flap which folds down and covers it up. Ingenious – Crewsaver you think of everything and I can’t believe it has taken us so long to notice it!



  1. judith says:

    Don’t get me started on plastic bags. There will be riots in the supermarkets when they start to charge for them. Week after week I see people being given as many as they want and I almost want to ask them do they re -use them.
    But on a more positive note – good research on music:
    LISTENING to Mozart can increase the brain wave activity linked to memory, understanding and problem-solving, scientists have found
    Recordings were made before and after they listened to Allegro con spirito from the Sonata for Two Pianos in D Major K448 by Mozart. They also listened to Fur Elise, by Beethoven.
    “The results of our study show an increase in the power and frequency index of background activity in both adults and in the healthy elderly after listening to Mozart,” they said.
    “This brain wave activity is linked to intelligent quotient, memory, cognition and (having an) open mind to problem solving. No changes in EEG activity were detected in adults and in the elderly after listening to Beethoven.”

  2. Simon TY says:

    We need to know. What is the most important, and what is the most annoying things you have lost overboard ? Half a snickers bar ? a bit of waterproof kit ? gloves, hats ?

    Sorry you having to eat the beef curry. Might need to revisit the blog entry about the buckets….

    You cannot see, but the snake of little dots is truly mid Ocean. On one easy page, California is there, Hawaii is there and you are approaching the middle. I hope soon to read that home team says you are over the half way point. Then just counting down. Weather is rubbish here. My parents been in Scotland last ten days. Snow on Ben Lawers and max temp of 11C……………brrrr.

    You may not care but Djokovic beaten in the Paris final by Wawrinka. Amazing. Mo Farah’s coach being investigated for doping. We have fly catchers nesting in our woodshed.

    Keep chins ( safely un velcroed chins) up XXXX

  3. Allen says:

    Hi Ladies, we have just returned from a week kayaking in the Scillies.. Why should this interest you…?
    1. We encountered some amazing Atlantic swell. These waves had been getting bigger since they left Argentina! We had to paddle up them, otherwise we would have started to surf down backwards! I can understand how you relate to your big Pacific swells..
    2. A week of nearly continuous paddling meant that you were putting on the same wet gear day after day… very de spiriting and needing to treat your body to reduce chafing points
    3. The Ocean is amazing! Just full of life and never the same.. absolutely fantastic! The sights we saw and the experience we had will live with us for a long time.

    I hope that you have a really brilliant time and that the weather turns in your favour and you soon start to eat up all those miles.
    The Pink Champagne laies will be paddling in the Magna Carta relay this weekend, celebrating 800 years of this famous document by taking their dragonboat along 20 miles of the Thames to Runneymede.
    Many best wishes.You’re doing great!

  4. Robert says:

    great informative chatty post, thanks Emma.

  5. Robert says:

    “Sadly in the last week we have seen more rubbish than wildlife in the ocean” You’re rowing through the “Eastern Garbage Patch” chuck the bucket in & haul some trash out to see what it’s made up of …

  6. Barney says:

    Agree with Robert, good post. I hadn’t liked to ask about the food stock but now you have raised the issue are you thinking of slinging a fishing line out the stern?

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